If you haven’t heard of direct marketing, in a nutshell, it means using your marketing materials to get someone to respond to your advertising NOW, instead of later. And it's the most effective form of marketing there is.
Brand marketing = see brand may times, buy once. Direct Marketing = see an advertisement once, buy many times.
It’s a subtle distinction that will triple your sales.
Here are my 7 cardinal direct marketing rules. Run through these. Consider it a checklist. How many can you check off for your business? Every one you don't check off is an opportunity for you to make more money in your business right now.
#1 – Every ad must conform to direct response standards. What does that mean? It means every piece of advertising will have a headline, big emotional benefits and an immediate call to action. “Call now to book your appointment”, “Enter your e-mail address”, “Book a reservation”, “Buy Now!”… ANYTHING… any action that will get them closer to giving you money. STOP trying to brand your business. Every advertising dollar you spend should go directly towards getting you another customer. Branding won't get you more sales.
#2 – You MUST have a USP. Even if it’s just an “angle”. There are 100 pizza shops in town. What sets you apart? Do you have the best cheese, fastest delivery, freshest bread… heck even coolest boxes! It doesn’t matter what it is. You have to find something to differentiate yourself from everyone else. No more “me too’s”. You don’t want to be a commodity.
#3 – EVERY offer must have an upsell. The most profitable words in history are “Would you like fries with that?.” It instantly doubles your sales. It’s 1 simple question, you or your staff could ask any customer and instantly increase your profit without spending a DIME! And here’s the crazy part… no matter what you offer, no matter what the price, a large percentage of your customers will STILL buy. Always have something more expensive & something less expensive to sell.
#4 – You MUST collect customer and lead data. It is the most valuable asset your business will ever own and if you don’t have a list of your customers already, you’re throwing money away. The easiest money you will ever make is from a list of customers that have already spent money with you. Imagine this scenario for a second: You’re a restaurant owner, you get your customers to leave their e-mail address to be added to a VIP customer list with special offers. The customer receives a discount on their meal in exchange. You send out an e-mail on a Tuesday or Wed to your VIP customers saying “come in tonight and get appetizers at half off with this coupon”. Suddenly your restaurant is full on one of the slowest nights of the week because you sent 1 email. And you can do that every week, as often as you like for dine-in or takeout! Do not underestimate the power of this! It works in ANY business.
#5 – You MUST have a follow up sequence that gets them familiar with your products and encourages them to spend more money with you. This can be as simple as a monthly newsletter, or as complicated as a 2 week follow up course before prepping someone for a big expensive purchase. Either way, the more times you keep in touch with your prospect, the more likely they are to buy from you.
#6 – You MUST track every sale and every lead you get. If you don’t know where your profitable business is coming from, how do you know what to focus your advertising on? Tracking brings clarity and confidence in your decisions. No more guessing as to whether the newspaper advertising generated a profit, or if that radio spot really worked. From this point forward, track everything you do.
#7 – You will go out and GET customers. Do NOT wait for customers to come to you. “Inbound marketing” / SEO / whatever you want to call it, is a passive activity. You do the work, and then wait for the results long after you’ve done the work. Don’t do that. You’re wasting your time. Instead, focus on activities that you can do that will generate business for you NOW, not in 30,60 or 90 days. If this means you have to hustle, so be it. If that means you have to pay for advertising, that's what you do. But don’t sit around and expect magic to happen. If you want something, go get it.
… and I have one more
#8… Be accountable. This is your business, this is your ship. You steer it. If you hire a marketing agency and they give you more excuses than results. Fire them. Consider your marketing pro a general in your military, and your advertising dollars are soldiers. Every solider you send out needs to come back with at least 1 captive…. another solider (dollar). If you had a general in the military, and he kept sending his men out to battle, and they kept dying, how long do you think he would keep his job? Always hold your experts accountable. Numbers don’t lie.
If you liked this article and you're interested in getting these “7 Cardinal Rules” setup in your business, let me know. I'm here to help. If you haven't already seen our “How We Get Customers” 12 Minute presentation, it's the best place to get started. It dives into more detail on what I wrote about above and gives you “Next Steps” to start getting sales now.
Cheers & have a great day!
– Adam Nolan